Sunday, 29 December 2013

A Christmas commission

The build up to Christmas is hectic for everyone and this year has been no exception! I’ve had the additional fun of having a special commission. The brief was quite vague, a red statement piece to ware with a black top. It can be quite liberating to work with an open brief like that, but also very risky. One person’s idea of a statement piece is another person’s idea of over the top! And with no guidance as to what kind of jewellery was expected - necklace, bracelet, broach or hair slide - the potential for disappointment was huge!

As I know the lady it was intended for very well, I decided that a necklace would be the best option as she rarely wears any other form of jewellery. That decided it was time to get out the sketch book and start planning a design.

40 hours and over 25 meters of vivid red wire later the final piece was finished! Unfortunately I did not have any time booked in with my product photographer before it had to be handed over, so the only photos I have are my own, not a mistake I intend to make again!

Commission statement necklace

It’s 8cm by 8cm, made with 0.9mm and 0.5mm plated coper wire with high grade crystals. The lady is was made for loved it and has been proudly wearing her new necklace at every opportunity. It’s such a good feeling when the time and effort of a commission piece is loved, worth every second of the work that goes into them!

I am now in the process of designing a range of slightly smaller pendants based on the same principals. And I have time booked with my photographer to get some good photos of them! 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Jar full of beads

When people start to hear that you make jewellery you tend to get a mixture of responses, ranging from total disinterest, through mildly patronising to the more wonderful and surprising reactions. This is definitely one of the latter! One of the ladies at my sisters wedding, on hearing I make jewellery, said that she had a large jar of beads and bits of broken jewellery that she'd been keeping for years – would I be interested in taking them! She knew she'd never be able to do anything with them but couldn't bring herself to throw them out.

Expecting an old jam jar with a few broken necklaces and maybe an odd earring I jumped at the chance. You just never know what you might find in something like this. It's an exciting prospect, digging through looking for treasure!

When I actually saw what she had, I was amazed and very grateful! A large kilner jar just packed with beads, broken necklaces, tie pins, odd earrings and sequins as well as other bits and bobs. Going through this is going to take some time! The sequins were, in a way, the easiest to deal with – I know I won't use them so they got passed on to someone who will. But everything else........

Jar full of beads!

At first look there's a lot of glass and resin pearls in subtle shades of pink and gray. They range in size from tiny rice pearls to much larger focals. Some show the signs of time and wear, some don't. These are not colours I would often use, or beads that I would normally pick so it's going to be a fun challenge to work with them.

Bead spread

But there were some that instantly caught my eye as something I wanted to use! Some lovely little seashell shaped charms, a lone deep green glass faceted round. A really interesting collection of little blue stones in what looks like a broken clip-on earring. Some lovely rich amber coloured resin beads and an unusual metal cage spacer among others.

Old clip on earring

Rich green faceted round

Metal cage spacer

Resin beads

Cute seashell charms

For now the jar is sitting on my work bench as ideas tumble round in my head. I think it's going to be some time before I work my way through them all!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Flower rings

I have been asked to create a large pink flower ring for a lady I know. It's always difficult to do a commission when the customer is unable to have a look through either examples of past work or a selection of beads to pick the ones they like. As a result of the limited time we had for her to discuss with me what she wanted, I decided to make a selection and give her a choice. So, I now have three large pink flower rings. I wonder which one she'll pick! To give you an idea of scale, the wire daisy has a diameter of 7cm (about 3 inches).

Large pink flower rings

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Growing things

With Christmas over and the snows falling I find myself longing for spring. This is reflected in the jewellery designs I most want to make. Flowers and leaves always feature a lot in my work, but at this time of year when I'm most craving to see the real world bloom they are particularly satisfying to make.

Leaf earrings

These leaf earrings may take a lot of concentration and time to make, despite being only 1.5cm long (plus hook), but are very satisfying for that part of me that wants winter to hurry up and go! And they look particularly good with the matching leaf necklace.

Leaf necklace

Of course, Silent Bob is just as eager for the warm weather to come and spends his time watching me work!

Silent Bob, watching me work